PHILOSOPHY & WINEMAKING
Morgen Long Willamette Valley Chardonnay is created with an inquisitive and integral approach, where small details are of great importance. After working as closely as I can to the vine with thoughtful farmers, my goal is simply balancing the craft of winemaking with a discovery of the authentic expression of grape, time & place.
As much as I minimize variables to allow intrinsic vinous character to shine through, I employ extrinsic pressure where appropriate to best highlight the unique facets which I note in the vineyard & vintage. I favor intentional, thoughtful & constructive methods over some new or old style which imposes some draconian effect. I aim at synthesis, rather than thesis or antithesis. I do not make natural wine, nor is what I produce industrial in any way. There is a saying in the Tao Te Ching which is illustrative:
"The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao; The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth."
What I do as a Chardonnay winemaker is aim at the highest high, & build wines from the depth which supports that. Starting in the vineyard, & as the fruit is pressed and ferments, each moment I work to determine how to best capture what is already brilliant, energetic & redolent, where the density of soil, wood, earth & fruit is alchemically fused with the weightlessness of air, leaf, light, mineral, æther.
I take what I do quite seriously & I absolutely love every moment & each aspect of this craft.
Hand picked fruit is pressed to extract both adequate juice & appropriate phenolics. Unsulfured juice is settled to allow for a careful selection of lees, before being transferred to 228L and 350L French oak barrels & lightly sulfured if necessary. Indigenous, ambient yeasts begin fermentation in a slightly warm cellar without non-essential additions and minimal effective SO2. Lees are stirred once or twice towards the end of primary fermentation. After one year of aging in a cold cellar in barrel, the wines are racked with inert gas & blended in stainless steel tanks for a second winter on lees. After seventeen months, the wines are gently decanted off of lees & prepared for bottling in the second spring after harvest, typically after 18 months.
Chardonnay's fluidity shows nuance. It thrives in many climates & soils. It's highly responsive in the cellar, a clear reflection of how it's made. To many, it's identity may be uncertain. Starting with this humble grape, my singular focus is to craft authentic age-worthy wines of time & place.
Each year's weather conditions are unique; time shaping the character of Willamette Valley Chardonnay. Seasonal conditions dance & vineyard microclimates shift, dynamic imprints within the fruit's DNA. Tuning in to subtleties, nuances and details is my task; paying attention & being present with time.
The soil, microclimate, topography, elevation, aspect & farming philosophy all have an enormous impact on the character of grapes. And there is way more than meets the eye. The 'soul of place' is what I seek to discover, over time, producing Willamette Valley Chardonnay which is authentic to it's place.